From RFID tags to drones, security arrangements for Amarnath Yatra
With the 43-day long Amarnath Yatra scheduled to start on June 30 after a two-year pandemic hiatus, officials are leaving no stone unturned to ensure that all security arrangements are in place. Camps in Jammu and routes along Udhampur will be sanitized amid a possible threat from Banihal, according to a CNN-News18 report. The Amarnath Yatra will last until August 11.
- The Amarnath Yatra is a popular pilgrimage that ends at an ice stalagmite Shiva lingam in the summer months.
- Amarnath pilgrims use the Banihal tunnel to cross from the Jammu region to south Kashmir.
- However, security concerns along the pilgrimage remain in the war-torn Jammu and Kashmir region which witnesses frequent terror attacks.
- In 2017, eight Amarnath pilgrims were killed by Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists.
Officials reportedly plan to continue using radio frequency identification (RFID) tags for vehicles like in previous years. Individual RFID tags have also been suggested to ensure no pilgrim goes astray, an official told CNN-News18. Further, as soon as the pilgrims enter Lakhanpur on the Punjab-Jammu border, officials will secure them, the official said. Officials have also planned for drone-dropped arms and ammunition.
Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla visited J&K last week and chaired a meeting to discuss the modalities of the Amarnath Yatra. Intelligence Bureau's top counterterror official Tapan Deka has held several other meetings. Over 50 companies of paramilitary forces have reportedly been redeployed in J&K after recent elections in various states. More troops will be sent to the valley closer to the pilgrimage.
Separately, IB officials are also keeping a close eye on how the Pakistan PM Imran Khan's ouster will impact the situation in J&K, CNN-News18 reported. Currently, there has been no visible "out of the ordinary activity" on terror launch pads across the border.